A Waukesha police officer fired shots to try and stop a vehicle that broke through barriers during a Christmas parade, killing five people and injuring more than 40, including children.
November 22, 2021 – By Kate Feldman – Source New York Daily News
A suburban Wisconsin Christmas parade turned deadly Sunday evening when the driver of a red SUV barreled the car into a procession of dance groups and high school bands.
At least five people were killed, Waukesha police confirmed overnight, and more than 40 were injured. But the numbers are expected to change as more people self-report to local hospitals.
A person of interest taken into custody by police Sunday has not been officially identified.
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies said Monday morning that at least one of their members was killed.
“Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness. While performing the grannies enjoyed hearing the crowds cheers and applause which certainly brought smiles to their faces and warmed their hearts,” the group, made up of grandmas ranging from their early 50s to mid-70s, said on Facebook.
“Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies. Their eyes gleamed…..joy of being a Grannie. They were the glue….held us together.”
A Catholic priest, multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic school children were also injured, according to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
“Today our community faced horror and tragedy at what should have been a community celebration,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said at a press conference late Sunday.
The SUV was recovered and a person of interest was taken into custody, according to Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson, but it’s unclear if the driver was deliberately targeting the parade.
Law enforcement sources, however, told CBS News that the suspect may have been fleeing from a knife fight earlier in the day. Police have not commented publicly on this report and a spokesperson for the department did not immediately return the Daily News’ request for comment.
Investigators are still working through the chaos of the scene, much of which was captured on graphic video and posted on social media. Photos after the crash show scattered strollers, chairs and clothing, left behind in a desperate attempt to flee.
The Waukesha school district canceled classes Monday and offered extra counselors for students and staff. Tuesday’s reopening “will be determined during the day on Monday,” the superintendent said.
The 58th annual Christmas parade, held by the Chamber of Commerce every year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, had a theme of “comfort and joy.” More than 65 groups were signed up to march, including the Brookfield Center for the Arts, the Waukesha Old Car Club and the local Civic Theatre.
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